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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Author Lesley Kagan

Q.  Where do you hail from?  What do you love most about your hometown?
A.  I was born and raised in Milwaukee, but have lived in Chicago, New York and LA.  I moved back home twenty years ago because I missed it so much.  The food is fantastic and the people, they're like none other.  Also love the topography. 
Q. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A.  I grew up in the Fifties, so I wanted to be, alternately, either John Wayne or Doris Day.
Q.What do you do for fun?
A. I love to hike, play with my dogs, and hang out in barns. l love horses.  I'm also pretty nuts about movies.  And television.  But most of all, I love goofing around with my kids, hubby and our 16 month old grandson, Charlie.  Being a grandmother is crazy fun.
Q. How has you upbringing colored your writing?
A.  Well, like they say, having a crappy childhood is just about the best thing that can happen to a writer.  I use the traumas I experienced as a kid as fuel for my writing.  I could create a bonfire.
Q. Tell us about your latest book.
A. Good Graces is a follow-up novel to my debut, Whistling in the Dark.  It's the continuing story of two young sisters navigating through the late Fifties and early Sixties on the Westside of Milwaukee.  It's a literary novel with a dash of mystery.   
Q. Do you have anything in the works you can tell us about?
A. I'm just finishing up a mother/daughter story set in the horse world.  Many of my tales have been told through the eyes of a child, but in this one, we get a mother's take.  It's part morality play, part a redemption story.  I'm having a ball with it.
Q. How much of your work is real?  How much fantasy?
A. Much of my writing is based in reality interwoven with fiction.  I find it impossible to write about people and places that I haven't experienced.  But the plots are almost always imagined.
Q. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
A. I love to write.  The biggest challenge I face is not enough hours in the day.
Q.What advice would you give writers just starting out?
A.  Don't think about your writing to much.  Attempt to get in touch with your subconscious and let it do the work.  And for godssake, don't be critical when you're in the creative stage.  Just let 'er rip.  There's time after you finish your first draft to dig in with a red pen. 
Q.How do you deal with rejection letters?
A.Being an actress, I thought I had some skills dealing with rejection, but somebody rejecting my writing is so much more painful than somebody rejecting me for a part.  Literary agents gave my first novel the cold shoulder over 150 times, so I had to develop stronger coping skills.  These would be eating chocolate, hot baths, crying, but never, never giving up.  (I eventually got an agent.  Whistling in the Dark was eventually sold to Penguin and hit the NYT Bestseller list.)

Q. What is your favorite of the books you've written?
A. Just like your kids, you love certain aspects of them more than others.  One book that never received the attention I hoped it would was, Land of a Hundred Wonders, so my heart goes out to it. I love the protaganist, Gibby McGraw.  Her unsinkableness is truly admirable.
Q.  Anything else you'd like to add?
A.  I'd just like to wish everyone a wonderous holiday.  And a great New Year!

***

Your posting date:
December
 14
Lesley Kagen web site:
http://www.lesleykagen.com
Lesley Kagen Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/LesleyKagenBooks?sk=app_4949752878

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186


Good Graces blog tour site:
http://goodgracesblogtour.blogspot.com

Book Summary
Lesley Kagen returns with the sequel to her national bestselling debut, Whistling in the Dark.

Whistling in the Dark captivated readers with the story of ten-year-old Sally O'Malley and her sister, Troo, during Milwaukee's summer of 1959. The novel became a New York Times bestseller and was named a Midwest Honor Award winner.

In Good Graces, it's one year later, and a heat wave has everyone in the close-knit Milwaukee neighborhood on edge. None more so than Sally O'Malley, who remains deeply traumatized by the sudden death of her daddy and her near escape from a murderer and molester the previous summer. Although outwardly she and her sister, Troo, are more secure, Sally's confidence in her own judgment and much of her faith have been whittled away. When a series of disquieting events unfold in the neighborhood-a string of home burglaries, the escape from reform school of a nemesis, and the mysterious disappearance of an orphan, crimes that may involve the increasingly rebellious Troo-Sally is called upon to rise above her inner demons. She made a deathbed promise to her daddy to keep Troo safe, a promise she can't break, even if her life depends on it. But when events reach a crisis point, will Sally have the courage and discernment to make the right choices? Or will her false assumptions lead her and those she loves into danger once again?

Lesley Kagen's gift for imbuing her child narrators with compelling authenticity shines as never before inGood Graces, a novel told with sensitivity, wit, and warmth.

Lesley Kagen's Bio:
I was born in Milwaukee and spent my early years in a great working class neighborhood, much like the one where Whistling in the Dark and Good Graces are set.

I attended Marquette University for one year, fell in love, and followed my boyfriend to New York City. I lasted about six months. I was so intimidated, I spent most of my time running from my apartment to the grocery store and back to my apartment, which was located above a 24 Hour Soul Record Store. Hence, I have the dubious ability to recite every lyric to every James Brown tune ever recorded.

After returning to Milwaukee, I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin where I majored in Radio and Television. I fell into a job as a morning drive DJ on one of the country's first alternative radio stations—WZMF. I got to interview lots of very cool rock n' rollers like Frank Zappa, Hendrix and John Lennon.

In 1976, I moved to Los Angeles, where I began a ten year career working for Licorice Pizza record chain where I produced, wrote and voiced thousands of commercials as Lesley from Licorice Pizza. When I set out to expand my career, I ended up doing on-camera commercials, a couple of Movies-Of-The-Week, and a Laverne and Shirley.

I met my husband, Peter aka Sushi Man, in Malibu, which is pretty funny considering he was from Milwaukee as well. While we both loved living in California, after the birth of our kids, Casey and Riley, we felt this overwhelming need to return to the roost, so we moved back home in 1990.

Well, that's about it. Oh, wait. The writing. I adore it. I crave it. But it wasn't until Casey went off to college, and teenage Riley made it clear that any form of communication between us was to be restricted to—"With or without pepperoni"—that I found the opportunity to sit down and let 'er rip. I hope you love readingWhistling in the Dark, Land of a Hundred Wonders, Tomorrow River and Good Graces as much as I loved writing them.

Hardcover
Price: $25.95
ISBN: 9780525952381
Pages: 352
Release: September 2011

Amazon buy link
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0525952381/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes&Noble.com buy link
http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=dcSBhG3Rj8w&offerid=229293.9780525952381&type=2&subid=0

IndieBound buy link
http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780525952381

Books-A-Million buy link
http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780525952381?id=5003903803737

eBook
Price: $12.99

Kindle buy link
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005DIAUA4/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tributebooks-20

Nook buy link

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

Brynna, thanks for hosting Lesley for an interview.

Lesley, I like how growing up you wanted to be two such different people - John Wayne or Doris Day. I love that! :)